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Mala

3.49  ·  Rating details ·  572 ratings  ·  92 reviews
An utterly unsentimental journey toward the end of life, Mala is an irreverent exploration of how we live, cope, and survive in the moment. Grounded in distinctive emotional language and sharp humor, this powerful one-woman show written and performed by Melinda Lopez (Sonia Flew) dances between a mother’s growing frailty and a daughter’s quest for grace—all set during an e ...more
Audible Audio, 2 pages
Published January 31st 2019 by Audible Studios
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3.49  · 
Rating details
 ·  572 ratings  ·  92 reviews


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Sonja Arlow
3.5 stars

Audible Original

Mala means bad, but more than bad. It means your essential self is bad, not that you’ve done something bad but that you are in your core bad.

This is a hard and honest look at the struggles of caring for an elderly parent. This may be a short book but one that packs a punch.

My mom lives with my sister and although she is one of the sweetest old ladies you will ever meet, she has developed a stubborn streak in the past year, making caring for her sometimes a challenge.

Me
...more
Sara
Apr 17, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: cuba, us, audio-book, play
it's a story about a woman and her struggle with her family especially her grief for the death of her parents. It also tells the difficulty of taking care of an elderly parent.
Very depressing and put me in a bad mood. Good performance and excellent subject, though.
Liz
Mar 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobooks
A short but powerful performance by Melinda Lopez as she recalls some of the more difficult moments during the decline, and eventual death of her parents.

For anyone who has ever dealt with the frustrating and always exhausting side of caring for someone at the end of their life, this memoir-like skit will speaks volumes. Lopez recalls, also, the memories of a few people close to her as they were dealing with the death of their parents. Although not moved to tears, personally, Lopez is during ma
...more
Melia Indra
Nobody teaches us how to deal with death, especially the death of parents. This was more a theater production than a book. I found the narrator's voice on Audible irritating and anxious. The last 8 minutes were the most enjoyable.
Alan
Virtuoso solo performance memoir
Review of the Audible Studios 2019 audiobook edition of Melinda Lopez' play Mala (2017)
And my mother is screaming "¡No! ¡Que no! ¡Que no me voy! ¡Tú eres Mala!"

'Mala' means 'bad.' Not that you have done something bad, but that you are, in your core, bad.

Although the title and the early anecdote snippet that uses it might give the impression that a gloomy downer experience is to be expected, Melinda Lopez' Mala is ultimately a cathartic immersion in the experienc
...more
Jeff
Apr 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This Audible Original was one of the free offerings in February. It is read by the author and is about her struggles dealing with her dying parents in their last months. The timeline is not linear, she jumps from story to story, and from parent to parent. The stories are sometimes funny but usually they are sad and profound. Ms. Lopez does a great job sharing her difficult family stories with us in an affecting manner.
Frank Privette
A heartfelt, funnily dark tale about loneliness, old age and death, motherhood, winter, and Cuban-in-Boston family values.

It’s well written and quite a compelling read. Especially because, as population pyramids age, the reader knows some of the daughter-as-caregiver roles will hit close to home. However, as soon as you’re getting to know (and care about) the characters, the play’s over.
Michael Huang
A free audible original on the author’s experience dealing with aging/dying parent. You get to hear about struggles you’ll face one day.
Chelsea
Apr 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
I liked everything about this play as an audiobook. The author/narrator did a wonderful performance, great change in tone and pace for different types of memories described, and I liked how she was speaking directly to the audience in character. This was basically a series of short stories about various memories of her parents in the latter years of their lives, which has a lot of sadness, but she brings some humor into it as well.

There is some Spanish spoken in this play; I don't think you woul
...more
Jessy Sparks
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Comedy and truth in this storyline where adult children help care for their parents. Enjoyed her heritage being brought into it with snippets of Spanish. Added to my connection with the storyline. Love, grief and learning to live again after death.
Sabrina
Mar 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobooks
I found this short novella quite emotional. I lost my younger sister back in January of 1995. She was 24 and I was 26. That was my first experience with real trauma and grief. She was also my only sibling. I lost my father in January of 2013 to cancer and that was so hard. Although, I will say that we found out about the cancer and 30 days later he was gone. And finally, I lost my mother in January of 2017. And for four years I was her caretaker. She was also at least 500 pounds and 6 feet tall. ...more
Quinn
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
4.5 / 5

Overview
Mala is a one-woman play written and performed by Melinda Lopez. The play is about aging and dying, with a particular focus on Lopez's mother and father. Lopez also intersperses stories from friends and family who have lost loved ones. I received this play for free as an, "Audible Original," for the month of February as a part of my Audible Membership.

Pros
- The play is an emotional powerhouse, and nearly brought me to tears on several occasions. The book strikes me as something A
...more
Kim Johnson
Feb 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I could have written this! I’ve been there - and it’s something all adults with aging parents should read. Some of my favorite quotes:


“Eating is the opposite of dying, isn’t it?”

“Nobody teaches you how to do the big stuff. Nobody teaches you how to stay married or how to raise a grateful child or how to help your parents through that difficult transition. I’ve seen it happen in the movies, but it’s not like the movies. The people that I’ve been around who have parents who are demented or dying
...more
Barbara (The Bibliophage)
Jun 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
If you've ever been a caregiver to a parent, you will connect immediately with this short play / memoir from Melinda Lopez. Lopez lays it out truthfully, and I happened to listen just about on the third anniversary of my mother's death. But there's also plenty of dark humor in this true-life tale, so you'll laugh while you cry.

Lopez lived next door to her parents, and she tells about the ups and downs of their health. She also talks about what it's like to navigate these waters with siblings. No
...more
Juan Rivera
Feb 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: lecturas-2019
When my mother died it was a slow and long-awaited process ... not pleasant but rather quiet ....

I imagine if her last days had been if she had had some illness like madness, where instead of being calm and loving she would have been angry and rude.

But as reading can live many lives, the book "Mala" Melinda Lopez tells a story like this .... the death of his father and the last days of his mother, which already has problems dementing.

His mother is 92 years old, and I feel the parallelism between
...more
Matt
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: audiobook
This is a brief meditation / performance on coping with loved ones who are dying.

Melinda Lopez tells the story of her parents in their final months of life. She talks about her own actions and reactions, her emotions, and her failings. She confronts the feelings of relief when they pass, and the guilt that comes from that. She wrestles with the difficult changes to her parents' emotional and mental states.

Through it all, she injects enough humor to show that this is still a part of life. Just as
...more
Maggie
Mar 31, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I originally started this book long before I put it in goodreads and the reason I kept forgetting about it was that it was such a harsh book. I originally got it because as I recently lost someone very close to me— specifically someone who was declining over time— and I wanted to feel like it’s a natural thing and that maybe this author would have something to help me through it. Some kind of wisdom maybe? But I ended up getting a vague and confusing story of her parents’ struggle. It was very d ...more
Avid
Feb 19, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Phew! A gold crown to all care takers in ANY capacity out there!! I've lived it more than once and living it yet again. It is a very, very difficult situation. To face it with black humor and write a book about it was likely a very healthy healing process of moving forward from grief. Everyone deals differently. No one truly understands another's loss especially if they've never lost someone close to them. It cannot be taught just as the instant love for a new baby can never be explained to thos ...more
Melinda
Feb 18, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Nobody teaches you how to do the big stuff...nobody teaches you how to stay married, how to raise a grateful child, or how to help your parents through that difficult transition.”
AND
“I may be an okay mom, but I didn’t know...I didn’t know how hard it is to be everything to the person who loves you...I know what it feels like to have someone need so much of you that you just get scared that if you give up any more of yourself, you might cease to exist.”
AND
“Plays are about people who do extraord
...more
Julie
Mar 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Sometimes, the theater-type formats work for an audible listen and sometimes they don’t. I could tell I was missing out on some visuals. This was fine enough, with the exception of the Spanish-speaking portions which the listener was left to figure out meaning for. I’m not fluent, but I knew enough to understand the gist of it and certainly the mood and the response in English was helpful. It’s a one-woman show about the struggles within the author’s family. It was touching and you could feel he ...more
Ingrid Stephens
Feb 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tarek Omran
Feb 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Super raw and felt quite real.

I am not sure if this is based on a true story but it sure did feel like one.

I listened to the Audiobook and the performance was absolutely magnificent.

It was just a bit over an hour long story about life.

The narrative was all mumbo jumbo and the sequence was back and forth. As if we are having a conversation with somebody venting at the bar.

Interesting perspectives about relationships between aging parents and their daughter and how she copes with their health dete
...more
Lisa
Mar 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I lost my mom when I was 22 and Mala is what it is like to battle that grief. Losing someone you love can be a real numbing slap in the face. Melinda delivered that sentiment well. Some may complain that her voice is irritating, but I found it raw and real. It is reflective of the adult blase shell we put on to "tough it out". At the conclusion, Melinda's voice and heart are overcome with emotion as she faces her grief head on. A glimpse of what we all have to face as a part of life.
Amanda
Spring 2019, audiobook :

1 of my 2 free audible books for Februay. Not amazing, but not terrible. I am still grateful I listened to it, for the same reason that I agreed with the synopsis and the some of the ending lines: because we are not, as an American people, taught how to deal with 'the hard stuff' such as watching our parents die and how to handle the slow, unspooling of death and the cost of it, the glory and the utter tragedy.
Glenda
Feb 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“The most ordinary thing you can do is die.” We don’t talk much about death in our culture. We should talk more. This often funny, often sad one-woman reflection on what it means to be a child and caregiver of dying parents echos themes in Arizona Chas’s “Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant.”

I read this play via Audible’s free performances for February 2019. It s worth the 1.5 hour time investment.
Michelle
Feb 09, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to Melinda's performance of this book and it pulls at your heart strings while throwing in a giggle here and there. Very honest performance about dealing with dementia and the inevitable death of your parents. "Plays are about people who do extraordinary things, but the most ordinary thing you can do is die. And the second most ordinary thing you can do is to bear witness." ~Melinda Lopez
Joseph
Apr 07, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Emotional short story of an all-too-common predicament for many adults today: caring for their aging parents. Mala mixes humor with sharp commentary and a witty telling of what it is like to care for one’s parents in the last years of their lives; the guilt, the ludicrousness, the emotional ups and downs. While it doesn’t solve any of these issues, it depicts the issues and feelings we face in this time and place.
Naika
2.5 Stars

I chose this as one of my two free Audible Originals selection. I had some free time so I decided to listen as it’s only about an hour. It was tough to keep my attention, even for that short of a book. Parts of me wonder if my fading in and out was my own subconscious need to self-preserve as it’s about death, the elderly, and the emotional toll of caring for loved ones. But I also was distracted by the narration, which I found to be jarring.
Val Riewe
Feb 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2019
I read this book on my parents’ 49th wedding anniversary. I am incredibly lucky that both of my parents are still alive and married to each other after all of these years.

They have had relatively good health for all of their years. A little bit of cancer, a little diabetes, but overall good. But, I know that time is coming. I see them growing older in front of my eyes and it is terrifying. No one teaches you how to do the hard stuff.
RJ
Jun 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Audible performance was beautifully told by Lopez, that showcases the ups and downs of her relationship with her aging parents. There were a lot of intersectional nuances with the story and with her Cuban upbringing that compellingly clashed with the situation she is left with taking care of her parents. Lopez has amazing emotional depth in her performance, more than I've ever heard in any other Audible piece.
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